The Ole Store Cafe, Wine Bar & Coffee House is NOT FOR SALE!

I thought it was important to state in a public forum that the Ole Store Cafe, Wine Bar, Coffee House and Deli is not currently for sale or being marketed for sale.

That is not to say that for the right price, any business owner would not entertain a sale at any time. But we took a huge gamble on the Ole Store because of our strong commitment to serve the community and to provide living wage jobs to our full-time staff and those principals remain our primary focus.

Never the less, the many rumors of the businesses impending sale that have been brought to me and our staff are based on the fact that the building's owner from whom we lease, Kevin Green & Associates are actively pursuing the sale of the building. As we have a lease that has 18 months left on the first of three, three-year lease options, the possible sale of the building in no way automatically impacts current ownership or operations.

While it was my hope that the company would be in the position to purchase the building prior to the end of the first three year lease option, my personal situation of going through a divorce with my wife and business partner Lindsay Byhre has made that goal impossible to realize in the near term. In addition, we have determined for the business to be viable, that both the asking price for the building and the current cost of the lease substantially exceed the building's value given both the residential and commercial real estate market and higher than anticipated costs for payroll, utilities, property taxes, insurance and marketing.

While we hope and expect that if the building is sold we will be able to come to an agreement that extends the lease at a cost that will insure that the current incarnation of the Ole Store is here for years to come, we can only deal with the reality at hand and hope that long before June 1, 2008 arrives, we will have secured the future of the Ole Store and be able to continue to honor our commitment to our employee and serve the community.

It is with that hope in mind that I continue to work to constantly improve operations, service, food quality and the Ole Store's reach as a destination restaurant throughout Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area as part of my desire to play a part in improving the strength of Northfield's retail and hospitality market.

As always, I encourage you to continue to support Northfield's locally owned, independent restaurants as the domination and spread of chain restaurants continues to decrease the number of independent restaurants throughout the country. All of the locally owned, independent businesses need your support throughout the year if Northfield is to continue to have a dynamic downtown and neighborhood establishments.

Thank you, Todd Byhre
Owner, The Ole Store Cafe, Wine Bar, Coffee House & Deli 507-645-5558